Caracas, June 8th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The Venezuelan Attorney General's office has announced that it will officially prosecute Tachira state’s chief of police, Yeisy Reneé Burgos Moreno (32), for the alleged murder of citizen Jenny Elizabeth Ortiz Gómez (42), during civil unrest last Sunday.
Gómez received several bullets to the head and face as the state police force, POLITACHIRA, attempted to control a protest that erupted outside a food distribution centre in the border town of San Cristobal.
The victim was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries. An unnamed thirteen year old passerby was also wounded in the altercation.
“The public prosecutor 20ª from that jurisdiction, Marelvis Mejía, charged the official with the alleged crimes of first degree homicide with malicious intent and the undue use of a firearm,” reads the Attorney General’s official statement.
According to the public legal body, Moreno has been officially taken into custody where he will remain until his trial.
In comments to press, Tachira’s state governor, José G. Vielma Mora, said that local police are strictly prohibited from using firearms for managing civil unrest and called for the “full weight of the law” to fall on those responsible for Gómez’s death.
The governor confirmed that a further fifteen people had also been arrested in connection to Sunday’s events, which he described as pre-coordinated “looting” organised by the country’s political opposition.
On his Twitter account, the politician for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) accused anti-government forces of attempting to generate acts of violence and an atmosphere of “chaos” in the notoriously volatile state.
“The planning of these acts was already being circulated on the social network Twitter, corroborating that this was orchestrated in advance. This isn’t about hunger, this is a formulated plan. They closed (avenue) troncal 5 in different points and attempted to carry out premeditated looting with firearms, hammers and molotov cocktails,” explained Mora.
On Tuesday, local news agencies also reported that a group of men had attempted to set fire to a Tachira mayor’s office in the municipality of Capacho Nuevo on Monday night.
Two local police officers have since been arrested for their direct involvement in the attempted arson attack.
Tachira has witnessed an escalation in violence over the past few months, with the local university having become the main site for increasingly frequent confrontations between anti-government students and security forces. Two police officers were killed as a result of an altercation in March.
Moreno’s prosecution comes as the Attorney General office moved to arrest at least twenty-three members of Venezuela’s security forces this week, including sixteen officials from the country’s criminal investigation body, the CICPC, on charges of homicide and torture.
The national government also officially intervened in local police force, POLICHACAO, earlier last week, after two of the force’s police officers were accused of participating in the murder of an army general.
Reports of sporadic looting across the country have become increasingly commonplace on social media in recent weeks, as the country’s political and economic situation becomes more acute.
While some of the reports have been corroborated, others have been confirmed as false.